Friday, November 18, 2011

Black Salvation - Lunia... EP (2011)

Although they've chosen to label it as an EP, Lunia... is actually an hour's worth of material recorded live in a rehearsal room by a trio of German doom mavens whose intent is to both crush their listeners' spirits and evoke all manner of demons while their brains are fogged with probably every narcotic known to thinking Man. But I'll level with you, without that subdued, live atmosphere to this, and it's churning sincerity, I doubt it would have created the same effect of ball-tripping blackness and nostalgia that it so ardently achieves, and the slower, repetitious sequences might have seemed more sterile and ultimately boring in a polished studio format.

There are four tracks, and all are painstakingly long, starting at 11 minutes and culminating with the massive closer, "Ghosts of Dying Time" and nearly 22 minutes! Normally this would get my red flags aflutter, but as I mentioned, the sheer rawness of the recording actually gives it some character that somehow survives the nigh on endless bludgeoning. As to their sound, I might compare them to an Electric Wizard or Bongripper, only Black Salvation is a lot less caustic and painful of an experience. Whether that's a good thing or not will depend on what you are looking for in a doom record, but these Germans definitely dwell between the margin of the (old) Black Sabbath, Sleeps and Pentagrams of the world, and the more droning and surreal slog of the bowels of funeral doom.

Tunes like "Inhale Lucifer" and the distorted bass driven "Doomed Utopia" are quite a drag as they gradually build towards their climaxes, but at least such peaks do finally arrive, in twitchy little psychedelic Sabbath melodies or eruptions of simplistic leads ("Doomed Utopia") that take the music to a whole other plane. Perhaps the only one of the four here that actually started to lose my attention here was the colossal fatty at the end, and yet even there the psychedelic little clean tones and crushing darkness of the vocal reverb still won me over. But in my opinion, the best thing they've got on this EP is the titular instrumental, which shifts between whales of feedback to low, passive bass thuds and all manner of guitar fuckery. It's 13 minutes of what sounds like free-form, beautiful improv that reminds me of many rainy nights cooped up in a $300/month rat-trap jamspace with nothing to do, and friends that had some modicum of ability on their instruments.

Lunia... is not perfect, but pretty fluid for a live recording and welcome, sobering introduction to a doom troop that we'll hopefully hear more of in the future, whether they stay this course or permit themselves the technological buffers of a pure studio recording.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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